BIOGRAPHY - Page 1
The mutant called Vincent (last name unknown) grew up somewhere in Westchester County, New York. His home life was difficult as a child. Vincent's mother seemed sweet and loving, but his father was reportedly an abusive criminal. When he hit puberty, Vincent developed his mutant power of hypnosis. One of his first acts was to compel his father into leaving the family and never coming back. While Vincent can perhaps be forgiven this use of his powers, he continued using hypnosis to make his life easier. His mother constantly had to field calls from other parents complaining that their kids were doing Vincent's homework, that his bullies decided to join the Marines and that girls were always being used for his amusement. Despite all this, Vincent and his mother remained close. [Weapon X (2nd series) #8, X-Men Unlimited (2nd series) #13]
As he reached adulthood, Vincent decided to rebrand himself as a super-villain, the macabre Mesmero. Mesmero seemingly got his big break when he was recruited by none other than Magneto himself to become his lieutenant. Out in the California desert, Magneto had established an isolated Mutant City, populated with armored mutant soldiers known as the Demi-Men. Mesmero oversaw the day-to-day activity of the Demi-Men and used technology provided by Magneto to enhance his powers. With Magneto's equipment, Mesmero transmitted a hypnotic call that would reach latent mutants across the nation, compelling them to travel to Mutant City where they could be put into service for all mutantkind.
The X-Men also received the mental summons, and traveled to San Francisco to investigate. They encountered the Demi-Men and Iceman also intercepted one latent mutant named Lorna Dane before she reached Mutant City. Mesmero and the Demi-Men came looking for Lorna and kidnapped her and Iceman. Utilizing the Mutant Energy Stimulator, Mesmero activated Lorna's latent magnetic powers, announcing her as M-2, the daughter of Magneto and queen of all mutants. The X-Men came to Mutant City to rescue their friends, but Magneto himself arrived to help the Demi-Men drive the X-Men away.
Magneto was injured in the assault, leaving Mesmero in charge of Mutant City. However, another new mutant named Erik the Red smashed his way into Mutant City with a show of force and convinced Magneto to declare him the new second-in-command over Mesmero's objections. Mesmero was suspicious of Erik, and soon uncovered that this "evil mutant" was actually Cyclops of the X-Men in disguise. Iceman also revealed to the conflicted Lorna Dane evidence that Magneto was not her father, prompting her to side firmly with the X-Men against the Demi-Men. Mutant City was left severely damaged as the X-Men and Lorna fled to fight another day. [X-Men (1st series) #49-52]
Mesmero continued to serve as Magneto's henchman, but the pair were caught off-guard when the Sentinels attacked their base. Furthermore, Magneto was destroyed by the Sentinels, revealing him as a robot. Mesmero was shocked by the revelation that his master wasn't real, and was taken into custody by the Sentinels. Along with many other mutants, he was eventually released when the X-Men defeated the mutant-hunting robots. [X-Men (1st series) #58-60] In an oddly similar situation, Mesmero was kidnapped again months later by the Secret Empire. They abducted numerous mutants in order to harness the "X-Waves" of their mental energy as a power source, before Captain America and the remaining X-Men freed them as well. [Captain America (1st series) #174]
[Note: Much, much later, in Captain America (1st series) #247-249, the master roboticist Machinesmith was shown with a Magneto robot in his storage of lifelike androids. Writer John Byrne intended this to be an implied explanation for the origins of the Demi-Men's Magneto robot, which was later explicitly confirmed in the Handbooks.]
Despite losing his leader, Mesmero held a grudge against the X-Men. He ambushed Jean Grey in the streets of Manhattan, catching her distracted mind in his hypnotic stare. Mesmero initially brought Phoenix back to his penthouse with the intention of making her submit to his physical desires. However, Mesmero discovered the Phoenix Force would reject him on a primal level if he got too close to Jean, despite her hypnotic programming. Disgruntled, Mesmero decided to use Phoenix in order to get the drop on the rest of the X-Men. He caught the team off-guard during breakfast, using Jean's telepathy to augment his hypnotic control. Wolverine proved most resistant to Mesmero's attack, and he used the other X-Men to gang up on Logan and physically beat him to weaken his resolve. Even forcing the X-Men to fight amongst themselves grew boring after a while, and Mesmero reluctantly acknowledged he wasn't creative enough to know what to do with the X-Men even after defeating them. A passing glance at one of Nightcrawler's old circus photos finally gave Mesmero an idea. [Classic X-Men #17]
Mesmero assembled a traveling circus, crewed by his criminal cronies, to showcase his new puppets. With Banshee as a carnival barker, to Jean Grey as a high wire acrobat, to a well-stocked freakshow, Mesmero used the X-Men for his amusement and to turn a small profit at the same time. The hypnotically implanted personalities and false memories ensured the heroes would carry out his bidding under the big top, even when they were out of his immediate sight and control. What Mesmero didn't count on was former member Beast stopping in to visit the missing mutants at the mansion, then tracking them down using Cerebro. Beast was captured by Mesmero's roustabouts, but seeing him in jeopardy was enough to snap Wolverine out of his haze. Logan broke Mesmero's spell over Phoenix, who returned the favor to the other X-Men. Mesmero had other problems, however, for not only were his hypnotic powers at their limits trying to control Beast, but the real Magneto had arrived on the scene. Having no history with Mesmero and his own plans for the X-Men, Magneto rendered the hypnotist unconscious and casually expelled his body while flying the X-Men in a carnival wagon to his hidden base. [X-Men (1st series) #111-112]
After being magnetically paralyzed and lowered into the Amazon from orbit, Mesmero decided to go straight. He became a legitimate stage hypnotist working on Broadway in New York. However, while his hypnotic power was unshakeable, his delivery and showmanship was subpar. Even his attempt to hire Spider-Man to bolster his act came too late to save it. Critics panned his show, sending the self-important Mesmero into a murderous rage. Unwilling to accept that his own work was flawed, Mesmero blamed the critics for spreading lies about him. He visited his first reviewer at the Daily Globe, mesmerizing the man to jump to his death from the Brooklyn Bridge. Spider-Man intervened to save the jumper, earning even more of Mesmero's misplaced aggression. Mesmero hypnotically gathered all the critics who hated his work to the stage, and forced Spider-Man to perform for the captive audience. Spidey finally escaped from Mesmero's act and knocked the hypnotist unconscious. [Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #207]
Mesmero was incarcerated for some time after that for his crimes. He was subjected to an all-concealing negator helmet that blocked his power to prevent him from using it against the guards. However, a well-meaning psychologist believed depriving a mutant of exerting their powers could cause lasting damage, and Mesmero played into the role for his own benefit. He faked a seizure to make the doctor remove the helmet, then hypnotized him and a couple guards in order to escape. As Mesmero fled from Washington state into Canada, federal law enforcement "borrowed" some Stealth Sentinels from Sebastian Shaw's company to pursue him over the border. The Sentinels caught up with Mesmero at the Vancouver Expo, leading into a three-way brawl when Alpha Flight arrived as well. Mesmero held his attackers at bay by hypnotizing the crowd and threatening to make them jump to their deaths if anyone approached. Alpha's latest Beta Flight recruit was another mental manipulator named Purple Girl, though. Purple Girl's chemical-based control overrode the willpower of Mesmero's hypnotized victims, allowing her to turn them against the super-villain, and he was recaptured. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #43]
Sometime later, Mesmero turned up working for the geneticist, Infectia. She was interested in acquiring Beast for her plans, and tracked down his ex-girlfriend Vera Cantor. Mesmero implanted false memories and personalities in Vera's mind, then guided her into Beast's path. These confusing encounters were meant to lure Beast into Mesmero's clutches, but Vera managed to shake off Mesmero's control. With Vera fighting back and Beast destroying Infectia's Anti-Men, Mesmero cut his losses and ran. [X-Factor (1st series) #55]
Tired of getting beaten up and failing as a criminal or super-villain, Mesmero decided to go legit again. He crafted an identity for himself in the UK as a highly skilled psychotherapist, using mild hypnosis to disguise his "true colors" from his patients. He then used hypnosis and regression therapy to help settle troubled minds and put his paying clients at ease. Despite his lack of credentials, Mesmero proved surprisingly effective and fulfilled in his work, even drawing the British Prime Minister to his offices.
Unfortunately, other criminals were not as interested in going straight. The Fenris Twins discovered Mesmero's ploy and wanted to use his influence on the Prime Minister for their own gain. They used war-droid robots as intermediaries to communicate with and threaten Mesmero so he couldn't hypnotize them. Reverting to old habits, Mesmero decided he needed some muscle to get him out of the situation. He got the drop on members of Excalibur one-by-one, bringing the super-team under his spell. Next, he insisted on a personal meeting with Fenris before proceeding any further with their plans. He directed Excalibur against Fenris, but the struggle caught the attention of Excalibur's missing member Shadowcat. She and her friends disabled Mesmero and captured Fenris, freeing Excalibur from their hypnosis as well. [Excalibur (1st series) #32-34]
Mesmero eventually got free and was seen attending a weapons expo on A.I.M. Island. [Captain America (1st series) #411] He soon moved on to Seattle, Washington, where he was attacked by the Dark Riders. Servants of Apocalypse, the Riders believed it was their duty to test mutants to prove if they were among the strong, and kill them if they proved unworthy. Mesmero was beaten severely by the Dark Riders and thrown off the edge of a roof. As he held onto the ledge, Mesmero stared back up at the Riders and caught the eye of Psynapse. The Inhuman psychic was compelled to turn his powers on his comrades, distracting them. Gauntlet of the Riders proceeded with the mission and fired over the balcony, apparently killing Mesmero and sending his body to the streets below. [X-Men (2nd series) #21]